From the Fan Posts - PS
One of the most anticipated seasons in Kansas City Chiefs history is upon us. For the first time since the 1987 season and Todd Blackledge, we will witness a first-round quarterback as the guy in Kansas City.
The crazy thing is, after it was apparent that Blackledge wasn’t going to work out, it took another 30 years to draft another first-round quarterback. Be that as it may, we are here, and the Patrick Mahomes era is finally getting started. For better or for worse, we are here for the ride.
What can we realistically expect from Patrick Mahomes' first year starting?
In the last 20 years (1998-2017), there have been 53 quarterbacks taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Out of the 53 that were first-round quarterbacks, only eight of them sat at least one full season before taking over the full-time starting gig.
Out of those eight that sat, Phillip Rivers, Chad Pennington, and Aaron Rodgers sat two seasons or more. Quarterbacks who have sat at least one full season have been hit and miss. Rivers and Rodgers will both eventually be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, while names like JP Losman, Brady Quin and Jake Locker also sat one full season and were out of the league very shortly after being drafted. Then you have Pennington and Daunte Culpepper, who started out very promising but were only derailed by injuries.
Yes, I realize Mahomes made one start last season in Week 17 against the Denver Broncos. However, Mahomes was the only first-round quarterback in the last 20 years (might be longer, that’s as far as I checked) to make only one start in his rookie campaign. Every other rookie quarterback (besides the eight that sat the whole season made two or more starts). Thus, let’s just group Mahomes into the eight guys that sat least one full season. In fairness, let's exclude Rodgers (sat three seasons), Rivers (sat two seasons) and Pennington (sat two seasons): the players that sat one season, the situation mirrors the Chiefs the most, with a good head coach and great weapons on the field.
We can go ahead and eliminate Losman, Locker and Brady Quinn, who all played on terrible teams. That leaves us with Culpepper and Carson Palmer.
First, let’s talk about Carson Palmer. In the 2004 season, he went 6-7 record as the starter, completed 60.9 percent of his passes and threw for 2,897 yards, 18 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. These Bengals teams had some solid offensive weapons in running back Rudi Johnson, wide receiver Chad Johnson and wide receiver TJ Houshmandzadeh. Although very talented, I do feel like the Chiefs offensive weapons are a little bit better than what the Bengals had. Palmer’s head coach back then is the current head coach of the Bengals now in Marvin Lewis (pretty wild). I have always viewed Lewis as a very average head coach. He usually won’t have teams that go 2-14 but won't often have teams win more than 10 games. He is a good bet to win you seven to eight games a year.
Now, let’s take a peek at Culpepper's 2000 season. Culpepper had an 11-5 season his first year as the starter, completed 62.7 percent and threw for 3937 yards 33 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He eventually led the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC Championship Game, where they lost, 41-0, to the New York Giants. The 2000 Vikings team was stacked with offensive weapons. They had two Hall of Fame wide receivers in Randy Moss and Cris Carter, as well as a very underrated running back in Robert Smith. I would put the Chiefs' current situation a little bit below on what the Vikings had. They were led by Dennis Green, who was a solid coach, but he was one of those who (like Andy Reid so far) could not get over the hump in the playoffs. I would still take Andy Reid over Dennis Green.
I believe the Chiefs have too many weapons for Mahomes to fail. They have the NFL's 2017 leading rusher in Kareem Hunt, the fastest man in the NFL in Tyreek Hill, a talented Sammy Watkins and the best tight end in football in Travis Kelce.
When you combine the different skill-position players from running back to wide receiver to tight end, the Chiefs may have the best group in all the NFL. The best thing about this group is they should be together for a long time.
Are you ready for the ride?
I believe the Chiefs are a better situation than the 2004 Bengals team and maybe a little worse situation than the 2000 Vikings team.
I would be very disappointed if Mahomes has the season that Palmer had in '04, but I’m not going to put the expectations on him to have the kind of year Culpepper had in 2000. I would take somewhere in the middle of both Palmer in '04 and Culpepper in 2000. 3,500 yards or so, 25 touchdowns and 15 interceptions seem to be about right to me. Now, if Mahomes does have a year like Palmer did, we still must remember to be patient and give him time.
I don’t think this is a throwaway year, per say, but I do think we are gunning for 2019 and beyond to be that Super Bowl contender. You can safely say this Chiefs' situation with Mahomes is unique and rare. Yes, you can say Palmer and Culpepper are a little bit similar but not entirely the same.
We cannot underestimate the effect that Reid will have on Mahomes this season and beyond. We know that Reid will put Mahomes in a situation in which he can be successful, much like he did with Alex Smith.
Unless Mahomes totally struggles, which would be a shocker to me because I find it hard to come up with a scenario where he is just a total Jamarcus Russell-like bust, we must remember to let Mahomes develop on his terms. Some players develop faster than others.
That said, I am fully on board, and I am ready for Mahomes to take the keys and take us wherever we may go.